The Palestine Entries: ‘I want to die here’

// Entry #5

Inside Egyptian passport approval center in the Rafah border crossing

Old woman: Panicking. “I’m still waiting for my passport. They haven’t called our names yet. What do I do? What’s next?”

Mama: “Sister, they’ll call your name in a matter of moments, I’m sure. Once they [the Egyptians] stamp your passport, you follow that hallway and you’ll be in Palestine in no time.”

Old woman: Crying. “Thank you habibti. It’s just me and my unmarried son here. I was evicted in 1967 and I’ve had enough. I need to return. If I’m not allowed back into Palestine, I’ll die right here, right now.”

Mama: “You’ll get in. We’ll go together.”

Old woman: “I want to go back. I’ve waited this long. We’ve got nobody else. I want to die there, in the land that I’m from.”

Unfortunately, this conversation accurately portrays the experiences of millions of Palestinians today. The woman and her son finally made it into Gaza. She plans to live there with her son for the remainder of her life.

Sami Kishawi


There are 4 comments

  1. Sam Holloway

    Forgive me for my inevitable sin of draping politics over this poignant and very human anecdote, Sami, but this elder woman’s experience strikes for me the contrast between a land founded on a political concept that purports that millions who have never been to a place can somehow ‘return’ there, and the reality that this land has been wrested away from hundreds of thousands (and their children and grandchildren) who are prevented from returning to what was and is rightfully their home.

    الله معاك
    (No, I didn’t suddenly learn Arabic. I copied that from a website. It means, I think, “Go with God.”)

    1. Sami Kishawi

      And shame on Israel for maintaining the blockade from the other three sides of Gaza. The day I visited the port, a small fishing vessel was hit by an Israeli torpedo. What’s with giving Palestinians only 3 km to fish? What’s with not allowing any entry of goods, food, etc?

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